On Christmas Eve 1943, 28-year-old Melville Madden was in the thick of one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Canadian military – the Battle of Ortona. As were the rest of his regiment, Madden was looking forward to an historic Christmas dinner organized by his unit, the Seaforth Highlanders, but even more, he was looking forward to a Christmas reunion with his older brother, Cecil, who was also fighting in Italy. Unfortunately, Melville never arrived at their reunion. Sometime on Christmas Eve he was killed in action. To this day, his family has no idea how he died.
Julian Sacher, a high school student from Lacombe, Alberta – Melville Madden’s hometown – is about to embark on a journey to Ortona. With the help of Ancestors in the Attic, he will try to discover the truth behind Madden’s death and, if he can, finally answer the questions Melville’s family has asked for more than 65 years.